Most people don’t know the best ways to react when confronted with a person with a stuttering problem. Only one percent of people stutter. Chances are talking with a person who stutters will be a rare occurrence. Here are some do’s and don’ts that that will show you how to help someone who stutters.
- Don’t try to finish what the person is trying to say
- They know best what they are trying to express and will eventually get it out.
- Don’t tell the person to “slow down and think about what you want to say”
- They have tried this again and again and they just can’t do it.
- Don’t look away when the person is stuttering.
- Maintain normal eye contact.
- Do slow your own pace of speaking with frequent pauses
- The person will feel less time pressure to speak if you model a slow pace
- Do listen to what the person who stutters is saying rather than how they are saying it
- Having full attention will encourage talking
- Do make sure you’re taking turns in speaking
- Be sure that the person is finished with their turn speaking
- Do wait a few seconds before you respond
- This will give the person who stutters’s time to prepare
How to help someone who stutters
If the person who stutters is a child…
Talk openly with your child about the experience of stuttering. It will be a strange experience for your child so talking about it helps. Talk to you child’s teacher to let them know about your child’s speech and about how to treat your child in the classroom.
If the person who stutters is an adult…
Let the person who stutters decide whether to talk with you about the problem. Keep listening to the message of what they are saying. Treat the person like anyone else.